Le Havre – Port 2000: a move towards the environmental restoration of the Seine Estuary: Part 1

Authorship

P. Scherrer, Technical Director, Port of Le Havre Authority, France

Publication

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The Port 2000 operation, which had its first operations in March 2006, was born from the will of the French State to position Le Havre as a main gateway for the flows of containerised goods. The first phase consists of four quay berths over a total length of 1.4 km. Two additional berths, which will be constructed further on according to the requirements of the terminal operators, are already scheduled and funded. Six additional berths will be built later on, according to traffic requirements. This huge port operation has also provided the opportunity to initiate a real move towards the environmental restoration of the

Seine Estuary.

The ecological interest of the Seine Estuary as well as the statement concerning its past led the Port of Le Havre Authority to implement a significant programme of environmental measures and work, within the framework of Port 2000, aiming at safeguarding and even developing its environmental functions. With a budget of about EUR 46 million, this programme is the fruit of the dialogue derived from the public debate and the cooperation between developers and environmental actors of the estuary (DIREN, Maison de l’Estuaire (Estuary House), environmental associations, fishing industry…), which is due to continue and is today a major asset for the Seine Estuary.

The measures initiated concern the restoration of the mudflats and the creation of rest places for birds, but also, especially, measures in favour of the Nature Reserve, the development and ecological management of a preserved area, the creation of an ecological beach, the fish observatory and the related monitoring system, the environmental training and information, the transfer and safeguard of protected species as well as scientific monitoring. We are going to focus in the course of this paper, on the two most symbolic operations of this set of environmental measures – which resorted to dredging techniques for a large part – namely, the creation of mudflats in the Seine Estuary (part 1), near the Normandy Bridge and the creation of a resting islet in the Seine river, for sea birds, South of the Estuary (part 2), and then we will rapidly conclude on the strictly port works and the follow-up studies carried out during the works.

Restoration of mudflats in the Seine Estuary (M€ 23)

The construction illustrated by Figure 1 is particularly innovative for several reasons:

• First operation on such a scale (M€ 23, more than 100 ha involved) for the restoration and re-creation of mudflats in a French estuary, in addition, carried out in a Nature Reserve

• Use of mar itime engineer ing techniques: physical and mathematical models, creation of breakwaters, mass dredging (more than 1.5 million c.m.) for purely environmental purposes

• Definition of the programme and then detailed project in close cooperation with the ‘Scientific and Technical Council of the Seine Estuary Global Management’ within the scope of a political will of global management of the Seine Estuary

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